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Fall 2018 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Mark Tatulli

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2018 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall 2018 Publishers’ Previews, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored by
Little, Brown

In the graphic memoir Short & Skinny, bullied middle-schooler Mark finds salvation in comics — if not from their back-page ads for “Miracle Muscles” he optimistically falls for. And it’s the summer of Star Wars, too…

Photo: Dean Tatulli.

1. Was there anything sold in the back of comic books that was not a rip-off?

Probably not, but the ones that promised a new body or greater height or even a deeper, more “manly” voice were selling the dream. And when you’re eleven, twelve, or thirteen years old, you still want to believe in magic potions and quick fixes. But you’re also starting to know when you’ve been had — after it’s too late.

2. Do you envy the nascent movie-makers of today, who can make magic with just a smartphone?

Yes, it’s certainly a lot easier today to make a professional looking “movie” with all the bells and whistles. But that also means that the competition is stiffer. Back in the 1970s, fewer people were willing to go through the rigmarole required to make a film, so it was something special, even an event, when a homemade movie with an actual story came out. In the end, fancy filmmaking is nice, but nothing beats a solid story with great characters.

3. Please rank the Star Wars movies in order of excellence.

This question was a lot easier to answer when there were still only three. My favorite is The Empire Strikes Back, followed by A New Hope and Rogue One. Then Return of the Jedi, The Last Jedi, and The Force Awakens. I pretend that the three prequel films never happened.

4. Is your movie Star Bores extant, and when can I see it?

Yes, Star Bores still exists, in all its original Super 8–film glory. It probably hasn’t been run through a projector since 1983, though, and I’m afraid to try. At some point I probably will have it transferred to a digital file; when I do, you will be among the first to know!

5. So how tall are you now?

Really? OK, for the record I’m 5’ 6”, still short by Hollywood standards (excepting Tom Cruise, of course) and, at 168 pounds, not so skinny anymore. Hey, maybe that’s the sequel: Short & Dumpy.

Sponsored by
Little, Brown

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